Worcester State University student Chantel Bethea has been recognized as an “Unsung Heroine” for her work with the local non-profit organization Women in Action, Inc., which she founded in 2010.
Bethea, who is currently a sociology major and participant in the university’s Next Step program, was nominated State Representative Kate D. Campanale and was honored at a June 17th ceremony at the State House in Boston, which was sponsored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW).
“I am so proud to know Chantel- she is a superwoman!” said Amy Ebbeson, Next Step coordinator for WSU. “School, her own business, and a family – she manages to do it all well and look beautiful doing it!”
Chantel has made it her mission and passion to unify and empower women in the Worcester community, especially those who lack support from their home or employers. Through several years of mentoring and countless conversations with women, as well as seeing a growing need for positive female role models, Chantel aimed to create a support system to increase the range of opportunities, activities, skills, roles, and rights available to women by encouraging the fullest use and development of their abilities and resources. With her organization Women In Action Inc. (WIA), she works to empower women and provide a place for them to meet individually and in groups, provide information and referral service, and initiate other programs to secure and enhance the quality of life for all women.
Chantel, a wife and mother of four children, credits her own mother for giving her the spirit to give back. “My mother has built her life around helping others and has certainly been the inspiration for my program,” she said, “and I feel as though I would not be who I am today without her love and support.” Her mother’s continuous dedication to empowering the lives of women inspired Chantel to create WIA.
Each year the MCSW gathers nominations from across the state for women who make outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities. The honorees are nominated by state legislators as a means of recognizing women for their previously unnoted yet valuable community contributions. Whether they are mentors, volunteers or innovators, these women do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude in order to bring their communities together.
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